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Unit information: Images of Power in Lusophone Culture in 2020/21

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Unit name Images of Power in Lusophone Culture
Unit code HISP20092
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. King
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This Unit offers an introduction to the study of visual culture in the context of the Lusophone world, focusing on the connections between power and cinematic and photographic images. Through close analysis of a range of films and photography, balancing theoretical frameworks with a consideration of historical and political contexts, students will be encouraged to think about the politics of image making. What is an image? How do images reinforce or contest hierarchies of power? Among the themes and topics covered by the unit are: tropicalismo and hybrid aesthetics in Brazilian Cinema Novo; images of technology and nature in modernist photography of the 1950s and 1960s; and transformations in political documentary making from 1960s to the present.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the implication of a range of visual culture practices, from photography to cinema, in regimes of power in the Lusophone world.
  2. Respond critically and analytically to the issues/debated raised by the texts studies.
  3. Demonstrate a firm grasp of theoretical and critical scholarship in the relevant fields of study, as appropriate to level I.
  4. Formulate independent judgments and engage with ideas at a high level of complexity.
  5. Demonstrate sophisticated visual analytical skills and an ability to use film terminology correctly.
  6. Present independent judgments orally and in writing in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity and demonstrate ability to work effectively in groups.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively.
  8. Demonstrate the ability to carry out independent research appropriate to this level of study.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation

Assessment Details

1 group presentation on topic chosen by students (summative, 30%), assessing ILOs 1-8.

1 x 2500 word essay (summative, 70%), assessing ILOs 1-6.

Reading and References

Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (1964), directed by Glauber Rocha

Cabra marcado para morrer (1985), directed by Eduardo Coutinho

Mário de Andrade, O turista aprendiz (Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia, 2002)

Ludger Derenthal and Samuel Titan Jr (eds.) Modernidades fotográficas 1940-1964: José Medeiros, Thomaz Farkas, Marcel Gautherot, and Hans Gunter Flieg (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Moreira Salles, 2014)

Ismail Xavier, Allegories of Underdevelopment: Aesthetics and Politics in Modern Brazilian Cinema (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1997)

Beatriz Jaguaribe and Maurício Lissovsky, “The Visible and the Invisibles: Photography and Social Imaginaries in Brazil,” Public Culture 21:1 (2009), 175-209

[Texts may change from year to year]